Turkey’s military has carried out air raids against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq and Syria.
The overnight strikes destroyed 23 targets, the Turkish Ministry of National Defence said on Tuesday. The operation extends a recent escalation in violence across Turkey’s southern border, as regional tension continues to rise amid Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
The upswing in conflict began on Friday when nine Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq. Ankara responded with air attacks and military operations in the area, as well as in northern Syria.
The latest air strikes were carried out on Monday at 10pm (19:00 GMT) in the Metina, Gara, Hakurk and Qandil regions of northern Iraq, close to the city of Erbil, as well as in northern Syria. The action will ensure border security and prevent attacks, the ministry said.
“Twenty-three targets were destroyed, including caves, shelters, tunnels, ammunition warehouses, supply materials and facilities used by the terrorist organisation,” the ministry said in a statement on social media platform X.
Many fighters were “neutralised”, the post claimed – a term commonly used to mean killed or captured.
The ministry also shared a video that it said showed footage from the operation.
The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Turkish forces regularly strike PKK fighters based in the mountains of northern Iraq.
Syrian state media and other sources said on Monday that Turkey had carried out a wave of air attacks on electricity and oil infrastructure in Syria’s Kurdish-held northeast, putting several power stations out of service.
Turkey has carried out a series of military incursions and bombing campaigns in Syria against the Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG), which it regards as a wing of the PKK.
The tension spilling over from the war in Gaza is provoking increasing levels of violence across the region, and northern Iraq and Syria is one hotspot.
Iran also launched missiles at anti-Iranian terrorist groups in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, late on Monday, as well as the Syrian city of Aleppo. A statement claimed that the strikes had targeted “anti-Iranian terrorist groups” and the headquarters of Israeli spy agency Mossad in Erbil.